Last week my faith was strengthened immensely, but before I tell you how, let me give you a bit of history.
In 2018 I wrote a blog titled, “I Joined Church & Haven’t been Back”. In that blog I talk a bit about my faith journey. I’ve also mentioned in other blogs about my beliefs evolving over the years.
I grew up a church kid, a PK more specifically. All I knew was church. Tuesday was mission meeting. Wednesday was noon day pray and Bible study. Thursday was choir rehearsal, and depending on the Saturday it was either the free clothing giveaway or witnessing in the park. Oh and Sunday, SUNDAY was all the day long.
Since 2019, my life has been quite the whirlwind. Both my mental and physical health have taken some hits. I’ve talked in detail about some of the things I’ve experienced. Being a caregiver for aging parents, suffering a nervous breakdown, losing my job, burying both my parents in 11 months and going completely broke. Haven’t talked much about the latter, but one day I’ll share.
All of those things and much more shook me to my core and weakened my faith. Can I be transparent? One day I literally looked up at the sky and told God he had me f^% up , and I 100% meant it! Yes, it was that deep for me! I told him, if you’re trying to take me out, “don’t f around, do it expeditiously.” I was mad and I definitely felt like he was trying to delete me from life’s roster! The level of mental anguish I was experiencing was mind blowing. The weight was giving more than I can bear. I asked God to pick somebody else, because I was in fact NOT one of his strongest soldiers.
It felt as if the world around me was not real. I was operating on autopilot walking around with a fake smile pretending everything was okay. I was constantly asking God what was the purpose of all this pain? All while doing my best to remember my spiritual foundation, but it was hard. Things I kept saying to myself, “God’s will not mine, yet will I trust you, God what is it you would have me to learn in this season, nothing happens without your permission”…some days my faith and optimism would win, other days the pain would.
On the days pain was the victor, I’d become angry. Angry because I was better/stronger than that, atleast that’s what I was gaslighting myself into believing.
A few months ago I joined a church, a church that I love! Through all of my different phases of spiritual evolution, one thing remained constant for me, and that was Jesus, but in this stage of life, it was/is/felt different. It’s now more about a personal relationship with him and not the religion. I am sure some of you can relate. Going to church today feels good. It doesn’t feel forced. I’m not going out of fear of being punished.
Now, let’s talk about the pain. Up until what I encountered the other day, I was still unsure of what the purpose of all this pain was. My situation was still situation-ing and while I had a feeling of what the purpose might be, nothing was confirmed. What was changing was me and my perspective.
What strengthened my faith, and gave me a glimpse of the purpose of my pain?
I had a conversation with someone who was struggling with their faith. A person who like myself, grew up Baptist, knew God but whose faith had been shaken to the core. Real quick, can we normalize this??? Sometimes life’s circumstances breaks you completely and you lose your faith. That’s okay!
We began to talk and I listened. I also shared my own experiences and how today my relationship with God looks different. I quoted a song, specifically Mahilia Jackson’s “how I got over”. I shared how I didn’t get it when I heard it sung as a child, but I get it today. I shared how God speaks to me today, and how I’m able to recognize his voice. She told me she needed that, and said our talk made her want to pull out her Bible.
This folks, THIS was the moment I began to realize the purpose. When I got to my car, I wept. I asked God, why me? As clear as day I heard, “why not you? Your life and what you’ve overcome and survived is the perfect example of my work” Listen to me, God isn’t looking for perfection, he’s looking for willing vessels! In that moment I was obedient and the feeling that it gave me was indescribable!
Now, for some this won’t resonate and that’s okay. For me, it does. This is what I’ve learned over the years, do what works for you! I’ve traveled many different paths on my spiritual journey, and where I am today makes sense to me. I’m no judge and jury of anyone, but for me, if MY experiences can strengthen/reignite someone’s relationship with Christ and renew their faith, then i’m all in. What I know for certain is that, no creation can exist without a creator.
I pray this encourages someone who may be struggling with their faith right now. I pray that the sheer fact that I didn’t lose my mind after everything that has happened in my life lets you know that you too can and will survive what may feel like your worst days!
Until next time,